Turkish Highland Meadow Soup (Yayla Çorbası)

Turkish 'yayla çorbası' is made with rice, plain yogurt and mint.
Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings

If you are a fan of plain yogurt, you'll be happy to discover this Turkish recipe for hot yogurt soup. Yayla çorbası (YAI'-lah chor-BAH'-suh), or highland meadow soup, is a popular Turkish soup that features plain yogurt, mint, and rice.

It's named after the yaylalar or high mountain meadows in the northern regions of Turkey where grazing is at its best and high-quality yogurt and dairy products abound. It's a good example of Turkish regional cuisine usually associated with the northern regions of Turkey along the Black Sea coast, but it's common all over the country.

When it's cooked just right, this soup is creamy and satisfying. It's the perfect comfort food. Serve it at casual meals or when you have leftover plain rice from the night before.

In Turkey, this recipe is considered a good choice if you're fighting a cold, much like chicken soup, or if you're recovering from an illness or surgery. It even appears on hospital menus.

It's not surprising. This soup is made with nutritious ingredients, has a mild, minty flavor, and is easy on the stomach. Try Turkish highland meadow soup and do something good for your body and your taste buds.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rice (or broken rice or substitute with 1 cup cooked plain rice)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash white pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • Garnish: 2 fresh mint sprigs

Steps to Make It

  1. First, put the rice in a covered saucepan with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook the rice until it softens.

  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg, plain yogurt, flour, and 1 cup of water briskly with a wire whisk until well blended and creamy. Make sure you have no lumps of flour or yogurt.

  3. Using your wire whisk, stir the rice-water mixture and add the yogurt-water mixture while gently whisking. Then, add the salt and white pepper. Allow the mixture to heat through until steaming. Continue whisking gently without letting the soup come to a boil. If the soup becomes too thick for your liking, add a little more water.

  4. In a separate pan, melt the butter and add the dried mint. Stir thoroughly and remove from the heat quickly. Add the butter and mint to the soup and continue whisking until well combined. Garnish each bowl of soup with a sprig of fresh mint leaves.

  5. If you wish, you can also keep the butter and mint separate and drizzle it over the top of the soup just before serving. If you want to spice up your soup a little more, optionally add about 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes to the butter along with the mint.